Caroline G C van der Wees

Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, South Holland, Netherlands

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Publications (4)18.15 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is characterized by progressive muscle weakness and wasting. Despite the sustained presence of satellite cells in their skeletal muscles, muscle regeneration in DMD patients seems inefficient and unable to compensate for the continuous muscle fiber loss. To find a molecular explanation, we compared the gene expression profiles of myoblasts from healthy individuals and DMD patients during activation and differentiation in culture. DMD cultures showed significant gene expression changes, even before dystrophin is expressed. We found a higher expression level of bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4) in DMD cultures, which we demonstrate to inhibit differentiation into myotubes. In the later stages of differentiation, we observed a significant decline in expression of sarcomeric genes in the absence of dystrophin, probably contributing to sarcomeric instability. These results support the hypothesis that inefficient muscle regeneration is caused by impaired myoblast differentiation and impaired maintenance of the myotubes.
    Neurobiology of Disease 08/2006; 23(1):228-36. · 5.62 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to assess the utility of the gene expression profiling technique for the preclinical evaluation of drug efficacy and safety, taking a new therapeutic approach for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) as an example. Muscles from dystrophin-deficient (mdx) mice, a well-characterized animal model for DMD, were injected with antisense constructs that restore the open reading frame in the Dmd gene. Synthetic antisense oligonucleotides (AONs) complexed with different carriers to enhance cellular uptake and recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV)-expressed antisense sequences were evaluated. Muscular gene expression profiles were analyzed on oligonucleotide microarrays. Polyethylenimine (PEI)-complexed AONs restored the reading frame slightly more effectively than uncomplexed, F127- or Optison-complexed AONs. However, PEI induced the expression of many immune genes, reflecting an aggravation of the inflammation present in untreated mdx mice. Expression profiles in Optison and F127-injected muscles were similar to those of saline treated muscles, implying that these carriers did not evoke adverse responses. Due to moderate levels of exon skipping, a significant shift toward wild-type expression levels was not detected. Injection with rAAV vectors resulted in much higher production of dystrophin and greatly improved the histological appearance of the muscle. Depending on the efficacy of the treatment, the expression of genes previously shown to be elevated in muscular dystrophies, partly or completely returned to wild-type expression levels. Reductions in inflammation and fibrosis were among the most prominent changes observed. Expression profiling is a powerful tool for the evaluation of both desired and adverse effects of new pharmacological therapies. It is sensitive and detects changes that are not histologically visible. In addition, its ability to simultaneously monitor a large number of different biological processes not only reduces the number of different assays required in preclinical research and clinical trials, but may also assist in the early detection of potential side effects.
    Pharmacogenomics 05/2006; 7(3):281-97. · 3.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: During excessive pressure or volume overload, cardiac cells are subjected to increased mechanical stress (MS). We set out to investigate how the stress response of cardiac cells to MS can be compared to genotoxic stresses induced by DNA damaging agents. We chose for this purpose to use ionising radiation (IR), which during mediastinal radiotherapy can result in cardiac tissue remodelling and diminished heart function, and ultraviolet radiation (UV) that in contrast to IR induces high concentrations of DNA replication- and transcription-blocking lesions. Cultures enriched for neonatal rat cardiac myocytes (CM) or fibroblasts were subjected to any one of the three stressors. Affymetrix microarrays, analysed with Linear Modelling on Probe Level, were used to determine gene expression patterns at 24 hours after (the start of) treatment. The numbers of differentially expressed genes after UV were considerably higher than after IR or MS. Remarkably, after all three stressors the predominant gene expression response in CM-enriched fractions was up-regulation, while in fibroblasts genes were more frequently down-regulated. To investigate the activation or repression of specific cellular pathways, genes present on the array were assigned to 25 groups, based on their biological function. As an example, in the group of cholesterol biosynthesis a significant proportion of genes was up-regulated in CM-enriched fractions after MS, but down-regulated after IR or UV. Gene expression responses after the types of cellular stress investigated (MS, IR or UV) have a high stressor and cell type specificity.
    BMC Genomics 02/2005; 6:6. · 4.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Nucleotide excision repair (NER) is the principal pathway for the removal of a wide range of DNA helix-distorting lesions. Two NER subpathways have been identified, i.e. global genome repair (GGR) and transcription-coupled repair (TCR). Little is known about the expression of NER pathways in differentiated cells. We assessed the repair of UV-induced cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPD) and 6-4-photoproducts (6-4 PP) in terminally differentiated myocytes and proliferating fibroblasts isolated from the hearts of neonatal rats. Myocytes and fibroblasts were found to carry out efficient removal of 6-4 PP but display poor repair of CPD by GGR. Furthermore, both cell types were found to carry out TCR of CPD, thus mimicking the repair phenotype of established rodent cell lines. The inefficient repair of CPD at the genome overall level occurs in the absence of massive apoptosis, but goes along with an undetectable level of transcription of the p48 gene, known to be mutated in xeroderma pigmentosum group E (XP-E) patients and recently proposed to be essential for repair of CPD in nonexpressed DNA. Taken together, the results suggest that primary non-dividing cardiac myocytes and proliferating fibroblasts from rat heart selectively remove CPD from the transcribed strand of transcriptionally active genes. GGR of CPD is poor due to the absence of p48 expression.
    DNA Repair 01/2004; 2(12):1297-308. · 4.27 Impact Factor